Out of Town
August 17, 2009
Last night’s episode didn’t exactly get off the new season with a bang; it was mostly just getting the pieces in order so that the writers can ratchet up the tension later. But that being said, there were a few interesting character moments, especially from Don and Pete. And it’ll be interesting to see how their new English overlords handle running the company as things progress.
So as Daniel mentioned, Don’s sexual-conquest-of-the-week was a blonde this time around. Seems to me this shows he’s found some level of comfort, or at least complacency, leading his double (triple!) life. He thinks nothing of adopting the role of Bill, played by Don, played by Dick, conducts his adultery in a businesslike manner, and even invents a pretty good line of bullshit about investigating Jimmy Hoffa. In other words, he’s enjoying the deceit tremendously, at least until he gets back to his family and remembers who it is he’s betraying.
But back to the blonde hair; I think the more or less submissive blonde girl (versus the strong, independent brunette) represents a certain set of lifestyle preferences for Don, and he’s settled, at least temporarily, into that set of preferences. Too bad for him that reminders of his fake persona–such as the opening flashback in which we discover that he’s not just a bastard in the figurative sense–keep creeping back into the edges of his consciousness.
Maybe those reminders are why he goes so easy on Sal. I’m sure a lot of viewers recognized that significant look in Don’s eyes when he told Sal that the tagline for their new ad campaign was going to be, “Limit Your Exposure.” It was also a piece of advice from one impostor to another: keep your personal tastes on the DL, and we won’t have any problems.
Meanwhile, back at home office, we got to see Pete Campbell at his most delightfully insufferable. Did anyone else think it was hilarious how he started brown-nosing his new Brit boss before he even knew why he had been called into a meeting? If that takes first place in the “Pete Campbell Makes an Ass Out of Himself” awards for this week, a good runner-up is his outburst at Ken Cosgrove after he discovers they’re competing for the accounts throne.
The funny thing about Pete is that he’s not really all that more venal than most of the other folks at Sterling Cooper; he’s just a hell of a lot worse at hiding it. Both of the aforementioned incidents drove home that Pete’s naked ambition will, time and time again, end up being more of a hindrance to his career than a help. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from Don Draper’s business dealings, it’s that a successful businessman goes to war without ever formally declaring it, and Pete just threw the declaration right in Cosgrove’s smug, Atlantic-published face. More than any of the other running subplots introduced in this episode, I’m excited to see where the Campbell-Cosgrove rivalry goes over the course of the season.